Nigerian troops on counterinsurgency operations in northeastern Nigeria
PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL ORIENTATION AGENCY
LONDON, June 12 (Xinhua)
Western powers and some African countries on Thursday agreed on a series of multinational missions to crack down on Boko Haram and bring home the abducted Nigerian school girls.
The agreements were reached at a ministerial meeting on Nigeria’s security situation,hosted in London by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and attended by foreign ministers of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, as well as representatives of Benin, the European Union, France, Canada, the United States, the United Nations and the African Union.
“We reaffirmed our strong and united commitment to fighting terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria and the region. We condemn in the strongest terms the series of atrocities perpetrated by Boko Haram and other groups,” the ministers said in a communique issued after the meeting held in the margins of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Nigeria, Chad, Benin, Niger and Cameroon have confirmed that they will operationalize a Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit to bring together all available information and tighten the net around Boko Haram, while Britain, the United States and France will provide the necessary technical expertise, according to the communique.
It added that Nigeria and its neighbors were committed to strengthening their cooperation among regional countries to bring home the abducted school girls and defeat Boko Haram.
Boko Haram, a violent sect seeking to enforce the Islamic Sharia law in the constitution of Nigeria, had been behind deadly attacks in the country since 2009. The sect recently claimed responsibility for the mid-April abduction of more than 200 school girls in northeastern state of Borno.
“The abduction of the schoolgirls was a terrible reminder of the toll taken by Boko Haram on women across the world,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague said following the meeting.
At the meeting, regional countries in Africa have agreed that they will carry out multinational joint task force patrols, with each of the countries contributing a battalion to the task force and support its headquarters through military advisers in agreed framework.
Britain also announced a new package of support to further help the Nigerian Government strengthen its capacity to deal with Boko Haram. The package will include helping to train units deployed on counter insurgency operations against Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, and further assistance to regional security and intelligence cooperation.
“This will mean significantly expanding the training and tactical assistance that the UK provides to the Nigerian Armed Forces,” Hague said. “Defeating Boko Haram will be a long and difficult task. But the atrocities committed against innocent and vulnerable communities are too important to ignore,” the foreign secretary noted.